Home Security Cameras, Are They Legal?
Security cameras can help us in many ways.
If you’re often away from home, you want to be sure that your home stays safe. By having the option to monitor your house, you can take appropriate action and call the police if you suspect something is going on.
There are also other reasons to use a security camera, like monitoring your pets when not at home. I don’t advice leaving pets unattended for long periods of time, but having the option to monitor them while being out can make it easier for both you and your pet.
Security cameras can be cheap, easy to install and very useful. However, have you ever thought about where you place them? As they are on your property, you should be able to do what you want, right?
Well, there might be more to it, and today we’re going to look into that.
Security Cameras On Private Property
The use of security cameras can often result in a question between what is legal and what is moral. You might think these should mean the same thing but that is not always the case.
This is since our privacy laws can often change as new technology is being used. For example, when drones came along, there weren’t really any laws set up about it until the market exploded and each country had to review the regulations.
Does it matter where I install my security camera?
On private property, you have the legal right to install a security camera.
However, if the camera is obviously pointed towards a neighbor’s property, there could be a problem. Since this is a conflict between privacy and freedom, a potential harassment case could be made if the camera is clearly pointing towards a private area, like their swimming pool for example.
Can my neighbor ask me to take down my security camera?
If your neighbor is unhappy about your security camera pointing toward their property, they can ask you to take it down but they can’t legally force you to.
What they can do, is to talk to the owner of the neighborhood complex, or if privately owned, make a complaint to the city or police. Some neighborhoods may have different rules, and unless you are the full owner of your house area, you may have to agree to their rules.
Why are companies allowed to have security cameras in their stores?
There is a difference between your home and the public. One might think that being at the mall is the same as the public, but it’s not. While stores are open to the public, they are still privately owned.
They are therefore legally allowed to use security cameras as a security measure, as well as to capture potential shoplifters.
There are however some areas where they are not allowed to record, like inside the dressing room of a clothing store. Some U.S states, however, may actually allow recording inside dressing rooms even though it may sound strange. It is however not very common.
Different Privacy Laws
Each country may have its own different laws regarding security cameras. Countries like the U.S, are often very clear about these laws. This is because their laws are based on the constitution that has certain rights for each citizen, including privacy and freedom aspects.
An important thing to consider is that, while the national law and constitution may be the supreme, rules may differ depending on the location and whether it’s public or private property.
This also goes for different states as they may have different variations of laws even though the constitution still stands.
This can be quite confusing, hence why your best bet is to talk your local city if you’re concerned about the legal aspect of security cameras.
Europe / Rest of the world
As for Europe and the rest of the world, these laws and regulation may vary quite drastically.
Some countries are more strict than others when it comes to security cameras.
For example, in Sweden, you are legally required to notify the public with a sign that you are video recording the area. (Unless it’s inside your home, then you are free to record as you please)
Some other countries may not be as concerned and firm with privacy laws, and then there may not be any legal notifying required.
Whenever you’re installing any system that may affect your neighbor, take a moment to explain to them what you are doing and why. This could save you a lot of distress of having an enemy as a neighbor for years.
We’re also only humans and should respect each other to some extent regardless of what the law says.
As mentioned, laws and regulations can vary from country, state, city, and neighborhood.